Radar Band Of The Week No:89 – Haim

Haim: LA sisters walking the tightrope between classic rock and sultry R&B

Are you kidding me? It’s like all of our wet dreams!” Danielle Haim (pronounced “high ’em”), dialling in from her native Los Angeles, will have you know that she and her two sisters have indeed seen the Drake clip for ‘Hyfr’, depicting a Bar Mitzvah of lavishly epic proportions. And judging from her animated response, it’s safe to say it’s got a fair number of repeat viewings in the Haim household. “Honestly, I’m trying to figure out how we’ll top it. Maybe we should make an Israeli Jewish wedding video?”

Danielle’s band, which includes her Bat Mitzvah’d sisters Este and Alana, might have a way to go before they’re able to amass the budget for their very own ‘November Rain’, but live, the band are already proving to have few peers. Even amid the roaring din of this year’s SXSW, Haim’s muscular brand of classic rock stood out, converting sceptics by the dozen with their boldly percussive sets.

While the band’s fiercely unhinged performances have led to them being – deservedly – noticed, Danielle admits that the studio has always posed more of a challenge. Namely because, she says, recording devices are notoriously ill-equipped to capture unbridled rawness. Since their inception, Haim have entered the studio on three separate occasions and failed to emerge with any songs suitable for release. Not until February’s ‘Forever’ EP did the band finally crack the code. The secret, apparently, was to ditch the idea of using their studio surroundings and instead to record, essentially, a high-fidelity bootleg.

And so we are left to reconcile the shapes of two distinct, duelling bands: the sultry, R&B-enamoured Haim we hear on record, and the fire-breathing, lip-pouting, spit-stirring, KoL-having-their-heads-kicked-in-by-Patti Smith live incarnation. It’s a gulf that Danielle shrugs off for the time being, saying only that live “is a different thing” for the band. But you get the sense that if you stick around just a little while longer, Haim might just pull off the unholiest of matrimonies…

Words: Jonathan Garrett

Need To Know:

Based: Los Angeles
For Fans Of: Patti Smith, Fleetwood Mac
See Them Live: Haim’s first UK dates are next week, in London (May 9, 14) and at Brighton’s Great Escape (12, 13)
Believe it or not: Along with Wild Belle and Bleached, this lot were easily the buzziest newcomers at SXSW.

This article originally appeared in the May 5th issue of NME

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